MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said Tuesday that President Joe Biden had lost “competency high marks” over his handling of Afghanistan.
Todd joined fellow MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson to discuss the fallout of the initial troop withdrawal, and he argued that the president had lost some of the competency that had set him apart from former President Donald Trump during the 2020 campaign. (RELATED: ‘We Just Can’t Keep Abandoning Allies’: Joe Scarborough Goes After Biden, Calls Afghanistan Withdrawal A ‘Political Disaster’)
Todd began by saying that the immediate question was how to evacuate anyone who still needed to get out of Afghanistan — and how the United States and other allies might handle the number of refugees who might attempt to flee Taliban control.
“The big long-term question, why were we so unprepared for this moment, you can’t help but come to two sort of conflicting theories but I don’t know if we’re ever going to get an answer that is going to feel satisfying,” Todd said.
He went on to suggest that one possible factor was the idea that Biden had made up his mind about the troop withdrawal before he was sworn in as president — and that had left him unwilling to bend when the Pentagon pushed back.
“I think they always thought they could buy more time and for whatever reason didn’t plan for every contingency,” Todd said of the Pentagon.
Todd then pivoted to address Biden’s speech, arguing that although he had tried to pass along at least some of the blame, he had not pointed his finger at the Pentagon or the intelligence agencies.
“But you’ve got to ask, how, the orderly part of this, what went wrong? I do think the biggest political fallout is competency,” Todd concluded. “Joe Biden’s greatest strength against Donald Trump in the campaign was the idea that he had been around the block, he knows what he’s doing. We’re facing this crisis with COVID, we need competency back in government, no more chaos. He’s lost the competency high marks he were getting at one time and that’s tough to get back.”